*Doughmore Beach. Photograph: Liam Ryan
Following further storm damage at Doughmore, locals have expressed their frustration at the ongoing wait a decision from An Bord Pleanála on coastal protection works with some fearful the Trump family could decide to offload the West Clare resort.
A decision on coastal protection works in Doonbeg was due to be made in October 2018 but no announcement has been forthcoming from the planning board. Michael Talty was among those to voice concerns tweeting “Another storm wrecks” Doonbeg in the wake of Storm Dennis. Others have lamented the uncertainty and the length of time it is taking for a decision that will impact on Trump Doonbeg’s future.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, PRO of the Doughmore Coastal Protection Group, Liam Ryan declared there was “massive damage” caused at the location during Storm Dennis. “In the last two weeks we’ve had two major storms and over the last couple of years quite a lot of damage has been done on the dunes. The sea is coming in with strong winds blowing the sand down, the sea is washing it away and making a ledge of the topsoil and grass growing on top, you could have two foot or more of the topsoil hanging down, that eventually falls down.
“There is roughly a metre and a half of sand ready to be washed away, there is no defences in front of the clubhouse or the other side of the beach. I measured exactly last weekend, 1.8m disappeared in one area, I walk it five days a week. It’s not just the course or the dunes, there is no protection between the sea and the clubhouse, that is where the bulk of the damage is happening”.
He described the sixteen month delay from An Bord Pleanála as “an absolute disgrace”. “The new owners want to put in defences which will protect all the land as far as the N67 because it is all lower that the dunes and it is vulnerable. He (Donald Trump) is willing to do this job and will put €6 or €7million to finish it, that is money the people won’t have to give, it is money the Council can spare on putting into roads and other things. The Council have a fee of €300,000 on him as a contribution plus they have to repair the roads, it’s a no-brainer”.
Ryan warned that there is a potential the Trump family could walk away from their West Clare resort which is one of the county’s most significant employers. “If this isn’t done and he turns the key on that place which he is likely to do, anybody with that company’s kind of money and they’re looking at their asset being washed away and the possibility of no business, they are not going to hang around, if they move there is 300 jobs gone which is extremely serious for the people in the area, the schools, the sports, the jobs, the families, the whole lot. There is absolutely nobody with sane senses would buy the development without the protection being there”.